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Obama commutes sentence of WikiLeaks source Chelsea Manning

Ex-army intel analyst was jailed for 35 years for leaking classified documents; president to pardon 64 people, commute sentences of 209

US President Barack Obama commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning, who is serving 35 years behind bars for leaking classified US documents, the White House said Tuesday.

In one of his final acts as president, Obama pardoned 64 people and commuted the sentences of 209 others, including the imprisoned transgender soldier who was convicted in August 2013 of espionage and other offenses after admitting to handing classified documents over to WikiLeaks.

Manning tried to commit suicide in October 2016 while serving time in solitary confinement for a first attempt in July last year, her representatives said in early November.

Manning, a former Army intelligence analyst who was convicted of handing classified documents to WikiLeaks, tried to kill herself on October 4, according to a statement she dictated to supporters by phone 11 days later and released by The New York Times.

Manning, 28, who was previously known as Bradley, was convicted in 2013. She ended a five-day hunger strike in September 2016 after the Army agreed to provide surgery to treat her gender dysphoria.

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is escorted out of a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., Tuesday, July 30 (photo credit: AP/Patrick Semansky)
Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is escorted out of a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., Tuesday, July 30 (photo credit: AP/Patrick Semansky)

She was arrested in 2010 while serving as an intelligence analyst at a US base near Baghdad after sending 700,000 documents — military war logs and US diplomatic cables — to WikiLeaks.

Manning has repeatedly decried her treatment at a men’s military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

The soldier has been hailed by supporters as a hero for exposing what they see as US abuses in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but denounced by prosecutors as a traitor who put country and comrades at risk.

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